Maintaining Healthy Oak and Sycamore Trees Following Wildfire
San Diego’s recent fires burned 27,000 acres and damaged hundreds of native oak and sycamore trees, including coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) and western sycamore (Platanus racemosa) trees located within the Escondido Creek Watershed. These native trees are important parts of the local ecosystem and are generally able to recover following fire but in some extreme instances may need assistance.
Fire damage to trees can range from minimal to severe. By using proper management techniques, homeowners can reduce the chance of tree decline or failure. Creating optimal conditions for the trees includes time for recovery, targeted pruning, mulching, and supplemental watering. This article describes how fire impacts oaks and sycamores, how the trees adapt, signs of tree damage homeowners should look for, and how homeowners can properly manage fire-damaged trees.